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Dogmatic theology is that part of theology dealing with the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and God's works, especially the official theology recognized by an organized Church body, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Dutch Reformed Church, etc. At times, apologetics or fundamental theology is called "general dogmatic theology", dogmatic theology proper being distinguished from it as "special dogmatic theology". In present-day use, however, apologetics is no longer treated as part of dogmatic theology but has attained the rank of an independent science, being generally regarded as the introduction to and foundation of dogmatic theology.
The term dogmatic theology became more widely used following the Protestant Reformation and was used to designate the articles of faith that the Church had officially formulated. An example of dogmatic theology is the doctrinal statements or dogmas that were formulated by the early church councils who sought to resolve theological problems and to take a stance against a heretical teaching. These creeds or dogmas that came out of the church councils were considered to be authoritative and binding on all Christians because the church officially affirmed them. One of the purposes of dogmatic theology is to formulate and communicate doctrine that is considered essential to Christianity and which if denied would constitute heresy.
Dogmatic theology may be defined as the scientificexposition of the entire theoretical doctrine concerning God and God's external activity, based on the dogmas of the Church.
Dogmatic theology emphasizes the importance of propositional truth over experiential, sensory perceptions.
The Roman Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is charged with ensuring fidelity to Catholic teaching regarding theology and doctrine among all members of the Church – especially in disputes or unsolved issues involving theology and the faith, and in dealing with individuals (especially clergy, religious, and catechists, where orthodoxy is a special concern, but also laypeople) whose teachings or statements have been judged erroneous at the local level. In 1989, the Congregation's International Theological Commission prepared a document on doctrinal theology called "The Interpretation of Dogma". This happened when Pope Benedict XVI was Prefect of the Congregation and thus President of the Commission.
The term "dogmatic theology" is thought to have first appeared in 1659 in the title of a book by L. Reinhard. A. M. Fairbairn holds that it was the fame of Petau which gave currency to the new coinage "dogmatic theology"; and though the same or related phrases had been used repeatedly by writers of less influence since Reinhard and Andreas Essenius, F. Buddeus (Institutiones theol. dogmat., 1723; Compendium, 1728) is held to have given the expression its supremacy. Noel Alexandre, the Gallican theologian, possibly introduced it in the Roman Catholic Church (1693; Theologia dogmatica et moralis).
Both Roman Catholic and Protestant authorities agree that the expression was connected with the new habit of distinguishing dogmatics from Christian ethics or moral theology, though Albert Schweizer denies this of Reinhard. In another direction dogmas and dogmatic theology were also contrasted with truths of reason and natural theology.
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy, meaning the large majority, all self-describe as churches, whereas many Protestant denominations self-describe as congregations or fellowships. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christian theology:
Liberal Christianity, also known as liberal theology, covers diverse philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century onward. Liberal does not refer to progressive Christianity or to political liberalism but to the philosophical and religious thought that developed and grew as a consequence of the Enlightenment.
The infallibility of the Church is the belief that the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian Church from errors that would contradict its essential doctrines. It is related to, but not the same as, indefectible, that is, "she remains and will remain the Institution of Salvation, founded by Christ, until the end of the world." The doctrine of infallibility is premised on the authority Jesus granted to the apostles to "bind and loose" and particularly the promises to Peter in regard to papal infallibility.
Assurance of salvation is a Protestant Christian doctrine that states that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit allows the justified disciple to know that they are saved. Based on the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, assurance was historically a very important doctrine in Lutheranism and Calvinism, and remains a distinguishing doctrine of Methodism.
Herman Hoeksema was a Dutch Reformed theologian. Hoeksema served as a long time pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. In 1924 he refused to accept the three points of common grace as formulated which had then been declared official church dogma of the Christian Reformed Church, as an addition to its adopted creeds and confessions. The result of this controversy was that Hoeksema, and ministers George Ophoff, and Henry Danhof, were deposed by their respective classes before leaving the CRC with their congregations. These men then established the Protestant Reformed Churches. He also was professor of theology at the Protestant Reformed Theological School in Grandville, Michigan for 40 years.
Ad tuendam fidem is an apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II issued motu proprio on May 18, 1998. The apostolic letter modified the Oriental and Latin codes of canon law specifying the form of profession of faith to be made by ministers of the Church before assuming office.
Catholic moral theology is a major category of doctrine in the Catholic Church, equivalent to a religious ethics. Moral theology encompasses Roman Catholic social teaching, Catholic medical ethics, sexual ethics, and various doctrines on individual moral virtue and moral theory. It can be distinguished as dealing with "how one is to act", in contrast to dogmatic theology which proposes "what one is to believe".
Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard. Religious views on truth vary between religions.
Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically relates teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Catholic Church on Mary. In the context of social history, Mariology may be broadly defined as the study of devotion to and thinking about Mary throughout the history of Christianity.
Karl Barth's views on Mary agreed with much Roman Catholic dogma but disagreed with the Catholic veneration of Mary. Barth, a leading 20th-century theologian, was a Reformed Protestant. Aware of the common dogmatic tradition of the early Church, Barth fully accepted the dogma of Mary as the Mother of God. Through Mary, Jesus belongs to the human race. Through Jesus, Mary is Mother of God.
Ecumenical meetings and documents on Mary, involving ecumenical commissions and working groups, have reviewed the status of Mariology in the Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Churches.
A dogma of the Catholic Church is defined as "a truth revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church declared as binding." The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Church's Magisterium asserts that it exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging Catholics to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church that states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error "when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church." Infallibility is, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, "more than a simple, de facto absence of error. It is a positive perfection, ruling out the possibility of error".
Lamentabili sane exitu is a 1907 syllabus, prepared by the Roman Inquisition and confirmed by Pope Pius X, which condemns errors in the exegesis of Holy Scripture and in the history and interpretation of dogma. The syllabus itself does not use the term 'modernist', but was regarded as part of the Pope's campaign against modernism in general and philosophical evolutionism in particular. The document specifically affirmed that the Sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted by Jesus himself, as in the Gospel of John 20:22-23.
Luther's canon is the biblical canon attributed to Martin Luther, which has influenced Protestants since the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. While the Lutheran Confessions specifically did not define a canon, it is widely regarded as the canon of the Lutheran Church. It differs from the 1546 Roman Catholic canon of the Council of Trent in that it rejects the Deuterocanonical books and questions the seven New Testament books, called "Luther's Antilegomena", four of which are still ordered last in German-language Luther Bibles to this day.
The history of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology begins with the life of Jesus and the forming of the Christian Church. Major events include the Chalcedonian schism with the Oriental Orthodox miaphysites, the Iconoclast controversy, the Photian schism, the Great Schism between East and West, and the Hesychast controversy. The period after the Second World War saw a re-engagement with the Greek, and more recently Syriac, Fathers that included a rediscovery of the theological works of St. Gregory Palamas, which has resulted in a renewal of Orthodox theology in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 such churches, the 23 others forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West – with his cathedra in this role at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity through its direct leadership under the Holy See, founded by Peter and Paul, according to Catholic tradition.
Heresy in the Catholic Church denotes the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Heresy has a very specific meaning in the Catholic Church and there are four elements which constitute formal heresy; a valid Christian baptism; a profession of still being a Christian; outright denial or positive doubt regarding a truth that the Catholic Church regards as revealed by God; and lastly, the disbelief must be morally culpable, that is, there must be a refusal to accept what is known to be a doctrinal imperative. Therefore, to become a heretic in the strict canonical sense and be excommunicated, one must deny or question a truth that is taught as the word of God, and at the same time recognize one's obligation to believe it. If the person is believed to have acted in good faith, as one might out of ignorance, then the heresy is only material and implies neither guilt nor sin against faith.
The theology of Scripture in the Roman Catholic church has evolved much since the Second Vatican Council of Catholic Bishops. This article explains the theology of Scripture that has come to dominate in the Catholic Church today. It focuses on the Church’s response to various areas of study into the original meaning of texts.
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